Niles police chief says officer fired after seeing gun and hand in stairwell

Staff report


The Niles police chief says the replica Smith and Wesson handgun Eric H. Gladhill held in his hand as he descended the stairs of his Vienna Avenue home early Monday was an Airsoft toy that fires plastic projectiles.

Chief Jay Holland said the toy is realistic enough that “I couldn’t tell the difference if it was pointed at me.”

Cheryl Gladhill called 911 at 11:48 p.m. Monday, saying her husband, 45, was intoxicated and causing a disturbance.

When officers arrived, they announced their presence, and Gladhill descended the stairs and confronted police with the toy gun in his hand, Niles police said.

An officer fired three times at Gladhill, Holland said, but the officer was only able to see the gun and Gladhill’s hand because the stairwell was walled in.

None of the shots hit Gladhill, and no one was injured by the gunfire.

Gladhill was charged with felony domestic violence and felony aggravated menacing and remains in the Trumbull County jail in lieu of $100,000 bond.

Cheryl Gladhill told The Vindicator she doesn’t know whether her husband realized he might have been close to getting shot to death when he approached officers with the toy gun in his hand.

“When he’s intoxicated, you don’t really know where his mind’s at,” she said. “I’m just glad they didn’t shoot him.”

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